Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Youthful and Mature!

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeHolidays are times when many of us will spend more than usual time with family. Can we remember when we were young? I had a dream one night not too long ago about when my wife and I first met – back when we were dating. That following Sunday – we sang a song that we sang in the Soul Searchers at Eastport UMC – back in the day. I’m pretty nostalgic so the memory brought nice feelings – even some tears in my sleep.

Can we remember when we were young? As we age – memories from our younger days can bring back good or not so good memories. If we had a good childhood or young adult years – our memories might be good. I remember being in great shape when I was younger. I officiated sports year round and all of that activity kept me in good if not great shape. If I could return to the 1970’s – that would be one thing I would tell myself – to keep officiating sports or at least to remain active. That activity burned lots of calories. I even had a chance to be a profession baseball umpire.

Can we remember when we were young? Can we remember when we started working? I was 13 I believe when I had my first real job. I was a Soda Jerk at a local pharmacy. I was able to purchase my first stereo with my earnings at Hecht Company when it was on West Street in Annapolis. It felt really nice to have something I earned myself. Continue reading

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Mentoring the Young?

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeI remember – in my younger days – watching my dad and the young men and women he trained along the way in his ministry. Many of them began as church hires – working with the youth – working with visitation – working with the general ministry of the church. Some came to our church as conference appointments. At Seat Pleasant (now Gethsemane) and Trinity in Annapolis – he had several young people enter the ministry through their joint ministries. I remember well these young people who were entering ministry and how my dad mentored them and gave them many opportunities to serve and learn. Several were at his funeral six plus years ago – others sent letters and cards expressing how much dad meant to them.

I remember the young men and women who came through the churches I have served and still serve. I even began as a young pastor myself. Being young is something I don’t have to worry about any longer. There is still time though to pass along some wisdom and insights in ministry to those who are beginning the journey. I have worked with numerous staff members over the years – several are now elders in our conference – and it has been a blessing. I have also used social media of late as a way to connect with other young pastors and have enjoyed working with others. I hope they have enjoyed our interactions as well. Continue reading

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Little Piece

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Today is the last day of our VBS (Vacation Bible School) for 2017. I posted this on Facebook this morning early. Up early to thank God for the awesome folks at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. Today is the last day of VBS. This ministry is such an expression of love for Jesus, the community, and for the memory of Linda Ryan. I’m honored to serve those who serve for Jesus. They are all heroes to me!

As we finish another year of VBS – I’m taking a look at today’s passage – especially the final part of today’s passage that say – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. VBS is part of the final part of that 4th verse – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. I have marveled at the number of persons who have given of themselves all week to help train our children and the children of the community in the ways of Jesus! Continue reading

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord of the Harvest

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being a givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reaching the Next Generation

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

RayMcDAs we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 – I’ve mentioned a focus for the new year. That focus is reaching the next generation. Our church is mainly made up of aging saints. The medium age of Laurel is 35 and our medium age at First Church is probably closer to 55 or higher. We have an awesome church – but – if we do not reach the next generation with Christ – in 10-30 years there will not be a First Church. I say that not to scare us but to bring into focus what the problem is as we make plans to reach the next generation.

Many churches focus on the membership of the church. I can see where this is important for sure. It is the membership that pays the bills – it is the membership that accomplishes the work of the church. It is the tried and true saints that help to keep the church functioning. Yet – without a constant influx of new people and new ideas – it is very easy for a church to grow stale and eventually die.

John Wesley once said – I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. –Journal, June 11, 1739. The founder of the Methodist Church felt he wasn’t bound to parish boundaries. He felt like he could preach wherever he found himself. We should feel this way today – that our parish is not bound to those inside our church – but our parish is all who will hear. Continue reading

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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